Confused Words Exercise (165)
In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms. (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one.)
Answers and Explanations
1. I don’t how he did it, but Jackson wangled a raise out of Mr. Sludge.
Wangle means to resort to trickery or devious methods to obtain something. Wrangle means to quarrel peevishly and noisily. Another meaning of wrangle is to round up and care for herd animals, usually horses.
2. The defense counsel brought new evidence to rebut the District Attorney’s argument.
Both rebut and refute convey a meaning of contradiction, but rebut is more usual in the context of a lawyer presenting evidence or testimony that contradicts what opposing counsel has presented. Refute is more common in debate or conversation. For example, "I refute your contention that global warming has nothing to do with colder winters and hotter summers."
3. The bemused expression on her face indicated that she still didn’t understand why she was being arrested.
Amused means "pleasantly diverted." Bemused means "marked by confusion or bewilderment."
4. After twenty years of dedicated study and practice, Carys attained her goal of performing a lead role at Carnegie Hall.
Obtain means to gain possession of something; how the thing is obtained is irrelevant. Attain means to achieve something difficult, by means of great effort.
5. I don’t enjoy visiting garage sales with Max; he doesn’t know how to haggle without becoming obnoxious.
Barter means to trade one object or service for another. Haggle means to bargain in an effort to lower the price of a commodity. It’s often used figuratively and in a negative sense. For example, "Don’t haggle over unimportant details."